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Well-Known Member
Oct 12, 2015
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Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Hello, and thanks for the opportunity to join. I've been looking for an active forum on soaping and this one looks great. I hope I can be of value to the community.

I'm quite new at this, but as I am wont to do with hobbies have jumped right in. I've made six CP and one HP batches so far with info gleaned from tutorials and web resources. While none have been "failures," I've been tweaking the recipe throughout trying to get better results. Starting with 1/3 each of lard, coconut and olive (which was overly drying), I've revised until I have something that I think might be my final recipe for a basic body soap. I've done one batch with this recipe, but as I'm still at least a month from being able to test it, I thought I'd post it here for opinions. I appreciate any feedback you take the time to give.

As background, these are only for my own family's use, and maybe a bit of gifting to friends if I get more confident. I have no intent to sell, ever. (I've seen too many home brewers ruin a good hobby by trying to go pro. ;-)) I am not overly concerned with a "natural" requirement - function definitely trumps form to me. We have softened water at home, if that matters.

So the recipe I've hopefully settled on is: (5% superfat)
45% Great Value Shortening (the tallow and palm one, not the all-veg one)
25% Olive oil
20% Coconut oil
5% Castor oil
5% Avocado oil
Pinch of silk in the lye solution
1 tsp/pound of sodium lactate (sourced from Brambleberry)

I've been using 35% water (as percent via soapcalc) Though I realize after reading here that % solution may be preferred, I don't know how to do that yet.

I have used various clay colorants and FO scents as well, seemingly without incident. (Except for one FO that accelerated more than I expected).

So what do you think? Any concerns? Anything wrong with using the shortening? Is the avocado necessary?

Hi and welcome!

I've made several batches using the GV shortening you are using, up to 55%. I have had no issues with it and really like the soap I've made with it. My oldest batch I have using it is about 6 months old, and I have not gotten any DOS (dreaded orange spots) on it. My current shortening recipe is much like yours, with only slightly higher shortening, slightly higher OO, 15% coconut oil, and no avocado. Is the avocado necessary in your recipe? Only you will be able to answer that, since everyone's skin is different.

If you want to change the lye percentage, it's easy to do with SoapCalc. Just click the little option that says Lye Percentage, and change it to what you'd like. I've been using 33% for most of my batches lately.
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Hello and welcome, I'd say your recipe looks pretty good to me. I love avocado in my soap. Your best bet would be to make it and give it a good cure and then test it. I would actually test it at 4 weeks, 5 weeks....etc. I don't generally do 33% as I've had problems with it tracing too fast but it may just be my recipe. You can certainly give it a try until you find the sweet spot for your recipe.
Welcome to the forum. Your recipe looks pretty good to me. I like more coconut oil, but some people find it drying to the skin.

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